Feline Rhinotracheities (FVR) is one of the most common upper respiratory infections that afflicts cats, the other is the Calici Virus. FVR affects the upper respiratory tract, including the eyes, nose, throat and sinuses. FVR is a member of the Feline Herpes Virus family and is specific only to cats.
FVR is a very fast progression disease. One to three days after infection, it will show signs of the infection, including sneezing, depression, loss of appetite and discharge from the eyes and nose. In severe cases, the cat may also develop ulcers in the mouth and pneumonia.
Cats exposed for the first time will have the most severe symptoms. Kittens who contract the disease will be the worse affected, and up to 70% of infected kittens often die from FVR. A severe infection in a kitten can cause loss of balance and seizures.
FVR is spread through contact with the discharge from the eyes and nose of an infected cat. It can also be spread through contact with an infected surface for 24 hours. The most common surfaces are food and water bowls, beds, litter pans, and clothing. The virus can also be transmitted through the air. After a sneeze the virus can travel up to 4 feet.
Common symptoms include:
• Fever (up to 106 F)
• Anorexia (loss of appetite)
• Runny Nose
• Watery Eyes
• Discharge from the eyes and nose
One of major concerns with FVR is the risk of a secondary bacterial infection. Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe an antibiotic or an antibiotic eye ointment to control the possibility of a secondary bacterial infection.
Because FVR is a viral infection, treatment is in most cases supportive and includes antibiotics, decongestants, fluids, and using a humidifier to help break up mucus in the airway. Most cats recover in 7-10 days without medical intervention. In severe cases, some cats develop chronic symptoms such as sneezing and nasal discharge.
FVR is prevented by yearly vaccinations for FHV-1 (Feline Herpes Virus). Kittens should be vaccinated at 8-10 weeks, then at 12-14 weeks and then annually. If your cat has been infected, it is important to isolate the cat from any non-vaccinated cats or kittens in the household.
FVR is susceptible to disinfectants and the area where an infected cat has been should be cleaned thoroughly to prevent the spread of the disease.